Impacted by the continuing European debt crisis and weak global recovery, weekly average oil prices of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dropped to 111.42 U.S. dollars a barrel last week, the Vienna-based cartel said Monday.
Last week, prices fell from 112.69 U.S. dollars a barrel on Monday to 109.12 dollars per barrel on Friday, with a brief rebound of 0.07 U.S. dollars on Wednesday.
Experts predict a strong U.S. dollar, weak global economic outlook and deadlocked deficit reduction negotiations in the US will continue to affect prices.
Prices are expected to pick up, however, when seasonal oil consumption goes up during winter, according to a recent report by BNP Paribas bank.
"During winter, global oil demand -- especially crude oil demand -- in emerging markets may rebound," said the report.
Some investors expect huge reductions in crude oil inventories of developing countries will lead to a rise in oil prices next year.
Globally, investors are buoyed by the decision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to offer aid to eurozone countries if needed. China, Japan and Korea pledging to strengthen tripartite cooperation to minimize the regional impact of the European debt crisis at the recent ASEAN Summit have also soothed investors to some extent.
BNP Paribas has raised its prediction for crude oil prices in the New York Mercantile Exchange next year on the grounds that global oil demand will be strong, inventory levels may drop, and the U.S. is likely to further ease its monetary policy.
When monetary policies are relaxed, it often stimulates investment in venture capitalist activities including investing in crude oil.